International Humanitarian Law (LAW-620-001)

In-Person (WCL)

2:30 - 4:20 pm (EST)

*For students enrolled in the LL.M. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, this course corresponds to 2 academic credits.

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  • Jamie Williamson, Executive Director, International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers' Association (ICoCa), Geneva, Switzerland
  • Tracey Begley, Legal Advisor for the Washington Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross

Course Description:

This course will explore the development and application of international humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the jus in bello or the law of armed conflict. It will examine the origins of this body of international law, and trace its codification from the mid-19th century to the present day. The class will consider the challenges posed to the application of IHL by contemporary armed conflicts and the changing nature of warfare. Topics to be discussed include: the principles underpinning IHL, the qualification of armed conflict, targeting, the notion of direct participation in hostilities, the regulation of private military and security companies, humanitarian action during armed conflict, the law of occupation, and the protection of persons hors de combat. Questions to consider throughout the course include: What is international humanitarian law / the law of armed conflict? What are its purposes? How is it created, interpreted, applied, and enforced, and how does it evolve? To what extent does it differ from other bodies of international law in this regard?